Daily Reflection
July 22nd, 2004
Mike Cherney
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"... she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus."

Having been caught in the rain the last two days, I realized that I do not have the same appreciation for water imagery (in today's readings) that a desert dweller might possess. The Gene Kelly / Fred Astaire joy for a puddle is not there for me. So much of what we appreciate is defined by our context and expectations.

In today's first reading, Jeremiah talks about Israel's relation with God having changed after they moved from the desert into the promised land. In the Gospel, Mary Magdalene goes to the Jesus' tomb. She arrives with a certain set of expectations. This predisposition contributes to her response.

Last week I was going to meet my wife and sons on the train. I had a good idea which coach my wife would select. I boarded the train and headed toward where I thought I would meet them. They had found a place for the four of us one coach earlier than I expected. I would have walked passed them had they not waved and called. I had looked directly at them, but I had not recognized them where they were. I spent the next five minutes being chided for how inobservant I was. I just didn't see what I wasn't expecting to see.

In the reading from Jeremiah, we see a relationship that has changed between God and his people. Attention has not been given to this relationship. The relationship has been taken for granted. God and his people have drifted apart without this being remarkable to his nation. It is a relationship in need of growth. Jeremiah makes a call for this development. He chides his people for their lack of awareness.

In the Gospel, Mary Magdalene arrives at the tomb and initially assumes that Jesus' body has been stolen. She goes on to meet Jesus without recognizing him. This seems to be something common to those who encounter the risen Jesus. It is only with a prompt or a sign, that the eyes are opened. (I can imagine the ways that the post-Calvary Jesus would be different. My guess is I would have responded similarly.)

My prayer today is for open eyes and an open mind. I pray for the ability to be aware. I pray for the ability to notice change.


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